THE CLUB is delighted to announce that seven players from the Rangers Academy have pledged their futures to the Light Blues today.

Fresh from making his debut for the first team from the bench against Raith Rovers, Scotland under-17 captain Liam Burt has extended his deal until May 2018.

The young attacking midfielder scored for Scotland under-17s in a friendly last week against Iceland with two other Gers who have extended their deals involved in the same international squad.

Midfielder Jamie Barjonas played in that match and he has also extended his contract until May 2018 along with goalkeeper Kieran Wright who was on the bench for the Scotland side, with both players being key members of the Academy under-17 squad and having been involved with the under-20 side this season too.

Joining Burt, Barjonas and Wright in signing extended contracts until 2018 are defenders Kyle Bradley, Jason Krones and Aidan Wilson along with Grant Nelson who has signed until 2017.

Speaking at Murray Park today as the players penned their new deals, Head of Academy Craig Mulholland said: ‘We are delighted to have extended the contract of the seven lads all of whom have great potential, provided they continue to work hard, and have all represented Scotland at some point.

“They have all performed well in Billy Kirkwood and Alan Boyd’s under-17s team and have responded magnificently to the work of Luke Lawrence their sports scientist, Graeme Stevenson who does their analysis work and in Kieran’s case, Colin Stewart our goalkeeping coach.

“As we continue to make positive change and develop the environment within the football department in order to achieve our ambitious plans, and make the players as good as they can be, it is essential that we retain our most talented young players.”

Burt making his first team debut during the week has given every young player within the Academy that extra incentive to work hard and make the step up when given their chance, something Mulholland says is vitally important for development.

He continued: “The whole Academy has been given a massive lift by Liam making his debut on Tuesday, at the age of only 17, and for these players and the many other talents we have throughout the Academy it demonstrates the pathway and opportunity that exists at the club if the young player is good enough.

“The Manager and David Weir have been fantastic and hugely supportive of the Academy and along with Frank McParland, who has a wealth of experience in Academy football, we have one football philosophy from the top of the club to the bottom which will help the progress of these young players.

“It has been a good week with the lads renewing their contracts, Liam’s debut and our strategy of giving our younger players experience on loan, with some great performances with their temporary clubs. It is a positive exciting time to be at the club and that no doubt is a big factor in the lads agreeing to continue at Rangers and entrusting their development in the Academy staff.”

Photograph (L to R) Billy Kirkwood, Jason Krones, Kyle Bradley, Kieran Wright, Aidan Wilson, Jamie Barjonas, Liam Burt.

Not pictured: Grant Nelson

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